Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


Letter from Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation, Department of Trade and Industry to the Chairman

  I am writing to advise you of European progress on the proposed Decision on the financing of European standardisation.

  The Commission's original proposal (11841/05) was intended to provide a legal base for existing financing of standardisation activity. It didn't mean any change in practice. It was welcomed by the UK (and other member states). The Select Committee on the European Union did not report on it (EM 1184/05—Progress of Scrutiny, 10 October 2005, Session 05/06).

  We have now received document 9264/06. This sets out amendments which have been agreed informally at first reading between the Presidency and the Parliament's committees.

  In our view, none of the amendments is particularly weighty. Nineteen are purely drafting changes; four tidy up arrangements between the institutions; and three are "motherhood and apple pie" changes to recitals. Only one has any technical substance. Amendment 29 (presented out of sequence following amendment 21) increases the proportion of funding which may be used to cover overhead costs. This reflects the unusual financial structure of the standardisation bodies and was agreed without much difficulty by the institutions. The UK supported the amendment. Given the non-controversial nature of this document, your officials have indicated to mine that no Explanatory Memorandum will be required.

  The proposal will now be analysed by jurist-linguists. We expect it to come to Council as an A-point after the summer break.

13 June 2006

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